Lack of respiratory improvement following remediation of a water-damaged office building.
Iossifova-YY; Cox-Ganser-JM; Park-J-H; White-SK; Kreiss-K
Am J Ind Med 2011 Apr; 54(4):269-277
Background: Damp buildings are commonly remediated without removing employees or ongoing medical surveillance. Methods: We examined paired pulmonary function and questionnaire data from 2002 and 2005 for 97 employees in a water-damaged building during ongoing but incomplete remediation. Results: We observed no overall improvement in respiratory health, as reflected in symptom scores, overall medication use, spirometry abnormalities, or sick leave. Four employees went from borderline bronchial hyperresponsiveness to bronchial hyperresponsiveness; six developed abnormal spirometry; three more reported post-occupancy current asthma, and four hypersensitivity pneumonitis. The number of participants without lower respiratory symptoms decreased from 27 in 2002 to 20 in 2005. Respiratory cases relocated in the building had a decrease in medication use and sick leave in 2005. Conclusions: During dampness remediation, relocation may be health protective and prevent incident building-related respiratory cases. Without relocation of entire workforces, medical surveillance is advisable for secondary prevention of existing building-related disease.
Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-function; Questionnaires; Office-workers; Spirometry; Hypersensitivity; Medical-monitoring; Surveillance-programs; Bronchial-asthma; Disease-prevention;
Author Keywords: dampness; asthma; hypersensitivity pneumonitis; healthy worker effect; building-related illness
Sandra K.White, National Institute for Occupational Safety an and Health, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, H-2800, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505
American Journal of Industrial Medicine